Poems from the Vault no.5


I have always felt closer
To the sand in the ocean
Than the waves

Now, as you are free
To brush me away from the corners of your eyes
Half asleep, and unaware as to what it is
That you are capable of

I do not wish to dream any longer
About a day when things will get
Easier, perhaps better or calmer somehow

I expect only the next 24 hours
Coming on over, one at a time
To greet me in the morning
And soon leave me by myself
Early, too soon before the evening
Has realised that it should have already arrived

I am skipping ahead of myself
Tipping the days ahead of the curb,
I lie there waiting for my body
To catch up and meet me on the ground

I lie and listen, almost expectantly
For the sound, it’s impact

I feel excited

It will come
And then I might not be so absent
From myself any longer


I let her in around midnight
Past the meeting of both hands,
And she walked straight on upstairs
Sat on the bed and lit a cigarette,
I remember that back then she smoked Marlboros

I don’t want anything, she said
Just a place to rest for a few hours

I walked on back to my table
And started to work once more,
In the low light we both sat
Neither speaking, each to their own

After a while she pulled out from her bag a small bottle of vodka
From the kitchen she collected two glasses,
I had already stopped writing this
And so just sat and listened
To the mattress grow tired beneath her

It’s so cruel, she said
So fucking unfair

Then she lay down and I went over
And pressed myself next to her,
As she tucked her leg right there under mine
I rested my arm on her shoulder

Then we slept, but for a few hours
Please don’t write about this,
She finally said

In the end, I only apologised
For the night was already over


There is war prepared
For each moment of our day,
We are united by it, bound to it

It comes with derision and derailment,
We struggle against it only because
We have not been taught any better

We don’t know what else
There is to do

If our lessons had been stronger
Ourselves a little weaker perhaps,
We would just shrug our shoulders
And buy a bottle of wine

There is a park nearby where the air is cool, clean
Where we can wait till they lock us in
With the aviary in its north-eastern corner

But we have not, as of yet
Received such lessons,
And so we don’t know how
Fine a thing it is to quit

And so with the coffee and the alarm,
The whole burning brightness of it all

We’ll position our parapets
Our stockades and defences,
And prepare once again, one more time

To take on all of you
Ready, for every last one

Author: jameskramerblog

James Kramer is a fiction writer currently based in Beijing. His writing has appeared in Your Impossible Voice, as well as various Poetry anthologies. He currently writes a monthly-ish column for LeftLion magazine on China.

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